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12 Types of Panties and Underwear for Women

Underwear, panties, knickers—whatever you call them—we know that you want only the best in your top drawer. A lot goes into determining what feels best on your body, and sometimes it comes down to more than finding the right bra or panty size when picking undergarments. 

Types of panties and underwear styles are best distinguished by function so picking the right or wrong one can determine the success of an outfit. If you’re not an underwear expert, don’t fear! We’ll give you the rundown of the top 12 types of panties for women and what to wear them with. 

Follow along as we cover the best fabrics, fits and functions of women’s underwear so you can love what’s under! All of our panties have a Best Pair Guarantee” so you can feel at ease and pick fresh underwear, not wedgies!

12 Essential Underwear Styles

12 pink white and beige illustrations visualizing the different types of panties for women like brief boyshort and thong

Panties are the most intimate part of our wardrobes and can have the power to make us feel confident, sexy and comfortable in our own skin. To help you choose a pair that encourages you to take on the day, we’ve provided details around how they fit, what they cover and what to wear them with! 

Let’s get started!

1. Boyshort

Pink illustration of a boyshort style of womens underwear

Who says sexy and support can’t be friends! The boyshort is a sporty, comfortable pair of women's underwear that can boost your bottom and streamline your legs and tummy for a flattering look that’s mega flirty.

Boyshorts offer full coverage along your hip and backside, with the leg openings sitting just below the top of your thigh. They are similar in cut to men’s boxer briefs (hence the name) and can provide you added protection from chafing against denim shorts and a little extra modesty when wearing a skirt. 

Wear them with: Skirts, dresses and jeans

Coverage Level: Full coverage

2. Brief

Maroon illustration of a brief style of womens underwear

Briefs are the classic type of underwear choice for women who're looking for support and comfort. With a waistband that stays in place, briefs wont peek over low rise jeans and whether their cut is lower or higher they provide front and back coverage. 

These types of panties are perfect for everyday wear—cozy enough for work, sleep, or even the gym, and the right fabric can help you set the tone for the day.

Wear them with: Summer skirts and dresses 

Coverage Level: Soft Coverage 

3. Thong 

White illustration of a thong style of womens underwear

For those who are in a constant battle with VPL (Visible Panty Line), you’ll need an underwear style with minimal coverage—the thong! The thong is meant to be discrete under pants, fitted dresses and leggings but often gets a bad rap (hello, wedgies)! With our thong, you can wear it all day and barely notice it’s there. 

Wear them with: Fitted dresses, leggings and pants 

Coverage Level: Zero coverage

4. Cheeky 

White illustration of a cheeky style of womens underwear

 

For a sexier style that doesn’t rely on lace, look no further than a cheeky underwear style for an alluring fit. The cheeky is the perfect medium between a thong and classic briefs so you can show a little cheek without sacrificing support for your bottom. It offers coverage that meets you in the middle: not too much fabric, but not too little.

The cheeky is designed for enhanced functionality, so you can move, bend, and sit without worrying about wedgies or rolling waistbands.  

Wear them with: Denim for a little bum boost 

Coverage Level: Soft coverage

5. High Rise Brief

Pink illustration of a high rise brief style of womens underwear

High rise briefs are designed for full coverage and offer slimming lines, a little added support and an extra comfortable barrier between you and high waisted pants. They also go well with dresses or skirts that cinch at the waist and are flowy at the bottom. 

Wear them with: High waisted bottoms or any time you want to feel more secure

Coverage Level: Full coverage

6. Slip Shorts

Maroon illustration of a slip shorts style of womens underwear

Slip shorts are our solution to summer thigh sweat that lets you strut your stuff with maximum comfort. Our slip shorts provide the same coverage and smoothing effect as a slip to shape your legs and hips under dresses. The best part is that they wear like bike shorts for extra coverage to guard your thighs from chafing.

Wear them with: Long skirts and fancy dresses

Coverage Level: Full coverage

7. Hipster

Maroon and white illustration of a slip shorts style of womens underwear

Like the name suggests, the waistband on a hipster underwear style sits on the hips, a couple of inches below the waist, and has low-cut leg holes. They are halfway between a boyshort and a bikini and offer a bit more coverage on the leg-line than a bikini cut. If you love wearing low rise pants, hipsters minimize the risk of accidentally exposing your underwear.

Wear them with: Low rise bottoms

Coverage Level: Medium coverage

8. Bikini 

White illustration of a bikini style of womens underwear

Bikinis are a type of underwear similar to the brief but without as much coverage. Like your favorite two piece swimsuit, bikini-cut underwear typically has a lower rise on the hip and a higher cut on the legs, while still offering plenty of coverage on your bottom.

Wear them with: Jeans, skirts and more!

Coverage Level: Soft coverage

9. G-String

Pink illustration of a thong style of womens underwear

G-string types of underwear have the least amount of coverage. They're very similar to thongs, but have only a string in the back to limit any lines from showing. They're meant for times when you would like to go commando, but would also like some sort of coverage. 

Wear them with: Leggings and tight dresses

Coverage Level: Zero coverage

10. Tanga Brief

Pink illustration of a tanga brief style of womens underwear

Tanga briefs are a type of thong-like underwear that cover both your front and back with triangular pieces of material. They provide moderate to minimal rear coverage between a bikini cut and a thong and also have wider sides. They can be a good way to transition from a traditional bikini underwear style to a thong.

Wear them with: Form fitting dresses and skirts

Coverage Level: Soft coverage

11. High-Cut/French-Cut

Maroon illustration of a high/french cut style of womens underwear

High-cut/french-cut types of underwear have a higher waist than the classic brief and also feature high-cut leg holes that rise just above the widest part of the thigh.  

Wear them with: Low-rise jeans and pants 

Coverage Level: Soft coverage

12. Control Top Brief

White illustration of a control top brief style of womens underwear

Control top briefs are a type of panty that creates a smooth silhouette around your abdomen. They sit high on the waist, just under the belly button and offer shapewear support and function.  

Wear them with: Form-fitting bodycon skirts and dresses; high waisted pants

Coverage Level: Soft coverage

Types of Panty Material 

Six white circles displaying Tommy John’s different types of panties by fabric

We’ve reinvented underwear so that women everywhere can overcome the uncomfortable. Here's how our proprietary fabrics keep you cool, calm and collected all day. For more information about our one of a kind panty material, check out our fabric guide

Cool Cotton 

For breathable, everyday wear that can help you beat the heat, our Cool Cotton collection has you covered. No matter the season, stay cool and comfortable in our panties made out of soft, breathable, moisture-wicking Cool Cotton. Made from a non-pilling Pima Cotton fabric, it keeps you 2-3x cooler and dries 4-5x faster than regular cotton.

All of our fabric collections have Cool Cotton gussets for extra breathability.

Available in our briefs, boyshorts, cheeky, thong and slip shorts.

Second Skin 

The Second Skin Collection is silky soft, smooth, and luxurious for a feeling that’s truly delightful to touch. It won’t pill, roll or bunch, and it stays put throughout the day. Its micro modal fabric is made from natural beechwood fibers.

Available in our briefs, high rise briefs, boyshorts, cheekys, thongs and slip shorts.

Air Collection 

Want to feel like you’re going commando without giving up protection? Then you’ll love our Air Collection. This feather-light, moisture-wicking, non-pilling, mesh, anti-microbial stretch fabric is so light you won’t even know you’re wearing it. Plus, the seamless leg bands and waistband have a no VPL (Visible Panty Line) guarantee, and won’t roll or bunch, even under your tightest pair of skinny jeans.

Available in our briefs, high rise briefs, cheekys, thongs and slip shorts.

Second Skin Lace 

Our Second Skin Lace fabric is silky soft, non pilling micro modal fabric that’s designed for daily wear and prevents lint balls or fuzz. Our Comfort Lace Waistband lays flat, soft, wide and stays put.

Available in our briefs, high rise briefs, boyshorts, cheeky, and thong.

Comfort Smoothing 

Our Comfort Smoothing fabric provides lightweight smoothing, without the restrictive feeling of traditional shapewear. The laser-cut seams vanish under clothing for guaranteed no VPL (Visible Panty Lines).

Available in our briefs, high rise briefs and thongs.

Air Invisibles

Designed for everyday wear, our Air Invisibles have ultralight, breathable, smooth and quick drying fabric that leaves no Visible Panty Lines or for guys, Visible Underwear Lines.

Available in our briefs, high rise briefs, thongs, cheeky and slip shorts.

Underwear for Women: FAQs

Not everyone has the time to be an expert in underwear like us. For those who want to know more about finding the perfect panty pair, we’ve answered your most frequently asked underwear questions below. 

What is the Most Popular Type of Panties?

The most popular type of women’s underwear are bikinis, hipsters and briefs. 

How Many Panties Should a Woman Have?

On average a woman has around 14 pairs of underwear. We recommend curating underwear that perfectly fits your needs and body. 

What Material is Best for Panties?

Cotton is the best fabric to be used in underwear as the vulva is very sensitive to unnatural fibers.  

What is the Most Flattering Underwear?

It all depends on your body shape! Thongs, cheekies, and briefs both rise high on your thighs, so they tend to lengthen your leg. If your bum has a natural bounce that you’re trying to flaunt, you may prefer to wear a thong for special occasions. If you have a V-shaped bottom, you can opt for full coverage on your backside with boyshorts or briefs. And if you want a more streamlined appearance in the front and back, stick with the boyshorts. Ultimately, the most flattering underwear are the ones you feel best in.

We hope our comprehensive guide on the 12 types of panties helps you discover your perfect pair! Don’t stop there! Level up your loungewear, bras and pajamas by bringing our luxurious fabrics into every part of your wardrobe.